SJ So what happens to Canon Pemberton?Kudos to Sarah Julian for not letting the - err - ABC get away with his - err - avoidance tactics. Most interviewers do. The ABC's responses are beyond pathetic. What message does Justin send when he refuses even to repeat his own words? Not everyone in England pays attention each time he speaks. Is he embarrassed by his words? If this is the best he can do, perhaps he might consider refusing to grant interviews.
ABC “Well, the Bishop of Lincoln .. he’s actually in Lincoln Diocese .. the Bishop of Lincoln has commented on that and I’ve said all I’m going to say on that, really; I’ve commented on that a great deal recently and I don’t intend to add to it.”
SJ We’ve not spoken to you here on BBC Radio Nottingham, though, and he actually does live in our diocese and does some work in our diocese so I’d appreciate if you could, you know, reiterate that, then …
ABC “No, as I’ve said, I’ve said on nationally and it’s been in all the press and on the radio and, and I’m just not going to add to it.”
SJ So you won’t repeat what you’ve said already?
ABC “Er, no.
SJ What will happen in future when more and more priests either do this or bless a gay wedding themselves?
ABC “Well, the Church is heavily involved at the moment in discussions about policy, organised discussions which will take, er, involving loads and loads of people from all over the world and, er, all kinds of activities and that’s going to take quite a long time to do and as I say, I don’t want to preempt those discussion so I’m not going to comment further on that.”
SJ But you must have an idea of what the Church should do in these instances ‘cus it’s already happening, you must have had a plan for what will happen to priests who do this.
ABC “Well, that’s been announced publicly, it’s on the record, erm, but errrr, as I say, I’m not intending to add to what I’ve said previously.”
SJ And if priests do break the rules, are they going to be kicked out of the Church of England?
ABC “There’s processes for, errr, what happens and it’s very much down to local bishops and umm, yeah, that’s, err, you need to ask the relevant bishop about that.”
SJ But you’re the head of the Church of England, they must come to you and ask you those questions, what do you tell them?
ABC “Well, actually the Church of England doesn’t work that way, we don’t have an Anglican Pope, we operate on a collegial, collective basis and errrr, it’s very much shared, errr, decision making, and there was a paper published at the end of errr January on that.”
SJ How do you think God feels about gay marriage?
ABC “Well as I’ve said I’ve commented an awful lot about it, I’m not going to add further to what I’ve said already.”
SJ But how do you feel about the current situation and the turmoil that this is in and how this looks to the rest of society?
ABC “One of the things … there’s always disagreements in Church, there’s always been disagreements in Church, it’s, it’s varied over the centuries on different issues; there’s always been disagreement. One of the key things in the Church is that the Church is a family, it’s not an institution, it’s not a political party, erm, it.. it.. the way we operate is that we are bound together by the love of Christ, and in the way we disagree we have to express that love to each other.”
SJ We have two women here in Nottinghamshire who we’ve spoken to, they are planning to get married, the two of them. One of them actually works for the Church and she wants to become a priest. She feels that she’s had to choose between getting married and her calling to the Church. Is there any hope for her, or how does that make you feel?
ABC “Well, I can only repeat what I’ve said before, that we’re, there’s a lot of discussion going on, err, we’re listening very, very carefully to people, but I don’t want to preempt that by adding further to the numerous things I’ve said on all kinds of media, including the BBC before.”
SJ But not here in Nottinghamshire, and these are Nottinghamshire people who …
ABC “I rather suspect that the BBC does reach in Nottingham, not only through the local radio.”
You may wonder about my excessive interest in the affairs of the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and you may even call it an obsession if you like, but I have friends in England whose lives are already gravely and adversely affected by the words and direction of the leadership of the English church. As a fellow Anglican, I care about them and all the others who pay the price for the delay of justice and equality for all members of the church, clergy and laity - the delay seemingly without end.